The traditional mountain village is also the best hidden secret of the area, as it remains invisible even when you are at its gates. Fortified, with few and narrow access roads. The village is protected from all three slopes of Taygetos, the mountain that, like a mother, protects her child. It is built at an altitude of 560 meters, below the peak Mavrovouna of Taygetos and is one of the oldest and most picturesque mountain settlements of Messinian Mani.
There are many settlements in the West Mani that claim the title of the most fairytale, undoubtedly this title belongs to Kastania. The endless green of the place is also the ideal frame for its charming mansions with stone roofs, made of slabs in the color of the natural stone of the area. The houses of the village stretch next to the clear crystal clear waters of a small stream that descends uninterruptedly.
A witness of the history of the area, a true jewel and a sleepless guard, the five-storey stone tower complex, about fifteen meters high and founded on a natural rock, by Captain Dourakis. Captain Konstantis Dourakis was one of the captains of Zygos and gathered around his tower house an important military-political force. Theodoros Kolokotronis also found refuge in the war tower during the great persecution of the thieves, before his transfer to Elafonisos. Among the many you can admire here, pay attention to the top and the four protruding cylindrical turrets, where there are stone-carved heads with the apotropaic but mainly protective character.
In the village square also stands the fountain with huge walnuts. Here, on the 15th of August, a traditional festival is set up in honor of the patron saint of the village the Panagia and a renovated, also Byzantine church, Assumption of the Virgin. If you are in that time do not miss this outdoor music meeting. Celebrate summer with traditional melodies flooding the air and delicious local produce. This is also the best way to get to know the tradition of this place. The experience will be unforgettable, it will fill you with images, warmth, Greek aroma and color because a festival means the biggest celebration.
The settlement occupies the first place in most Byzantine churches, many of which are decorated with exquisite hagiographic material. The most notable of these are Agios Georgios, at the entrance of the village, Agioi Apostoloi, Agios Petros, Agios Ioannis Prodromos, Agios Nikolaos Trikabanos. The church of Agios Petros is a real masterpiece with sculptures of capitals, doors and iconostasis, as well as admirable 14th century frescoes. Its restoration was completed a few years ago, winning the European Prize for Cultural Heritage Europa Nostra 2016.
Kastania or Kastanea or Megali Kastania, as if you are looking for it, its beauty is scattered everywhere.